7 "Will any one of you, who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep, say to him when he has come in from the field, `Come at once and sit down at table'? 8 Will he not rather say to him, `Prepare supper for me, and gird yourself and serve me, till I eat and drink; and afterward you shall eat and drink'? 9 Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded? 10 So you also, when you have done all that is commanded you, say, `We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.'"
Meditation: Are you ready to give the Lord your best,
regardless of what it might cost you? Perhaps we are like the
laborer in Jesus' parable who expected special favor and reward
for going the extra mile? How unfair for the master to compel his
servant to give more than what was expected! Don't we love to
assert our rights: "I will give only what is required and no
more!" But who can satisfy the claims of love?
We are called to serve God and neighbor selflessly and generously
Jesus used this parable of the dutiful servant to explain that we can never put God in our debt or make the claim that God owes us something. We must regard ourselves as God's servants, just as Jesus came "not to be served, but to serve" (Matthew 20:28). Service of God and of neighbor is both a voluntary or free act and a sacred duty. One can volunteer for service or be compelled to do service for one's country or one's family when special needs arise. Likewise, God expects us to give him the worship and praise which is his due. And he gladly accepts the free-will offering of our lives to him and to his service. What makes our offering pleasing to God is the love we express in the act of self-giving. True love is sacrificial, generous, and selfless.
The love of God compels us to give our best
How can we love others selflessly and unconditionally? Scripture tells us that God himself is love (1 John 4:16) - he is the author of life and the source of all true relationships of love and friendship. He created us in love for love, and he fills our hearts with the boundless love that gives whatever is good for the sake of another (Romans 5:5). If we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us (1 John 4:12).
God honors the faithful servant who loves and serves others generously. He is ever ready to work in and through us for his glory. We must remember, however, that God can never be indebted to us. We have no claim on him. His love compels us to give him our best! And when we have done our best, we have simply done our duty. We can never outmatch God in doing good and showing love. God loves us without measure. Does the love of God compel you to give your best?
1 I will bless the LORD at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth.
2 My soul makes its boast in the LORD; let the afflicted hear and be glad.
3 O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!
15 The eyes of the LORD are toward the righteous, and his ears toward their cry.
16 The face of the LORD is against evildoers, to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
17 When the righteous cry for help, the LORD hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles.
18 The LORD is near to the brokenhearted, and saves the crushed in spirit.
Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: We are called to humble service, by Ambrose of Milan, 339-397 A.D.
"You do not say to your servant, 'Sit down,' but require more
service from him and do not thank him. The Lord also does not
allow only one work or labor for you, because so long as we live
we must always work.
"Know that you are a servant overwhelmed by very much obedience. You must not set yourself first, because you are called a son of God. Grace must be acknowledged, but nature not overlooked. Do not boast of yourself if you have served well, as you should have done. The sun obeys, the moon complies (Joshua 10:12-13; Baruch 6:60), and the angels serve... Let us not require praise from ourselves nor prevent the judgment of God and anticipate the sentence of the Judge but reserve it for its own time and Judge." (excerpt from EXPOSITION OF THE GOSPEL OF LUKE 17.7-10)